NB Dental
Oral health in the classroom - teacher's toolbox


Introduction

Dental health affects not only our mouths but can impact our overall health and well-being so it is extremely important that we teach our children at a young age how to care for their teeth and gums.

The 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey revealed the following:

· 2.26 million school-days are lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick-days
· 57% of 6-11 year olds have or have had a cavity
· 59% of 12-19 year olds have or had a cavity
· The average number of teeth affected by decay in children ages 6-19 year olds is 2.5

Tooth decay (five times more common than asthma!) can impact a child’s ability to focus, learn or even attend class. The good news is it is entirely preventable. Daily brushing and flossing, making healthy food and drink choices and visiting the dentist for an examination are key preventive strategies. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children and adolescents. Learning strategies for maintaining healthy teeth and gums can lead to better overall health.

Almost all dental disease is preventable. Dental decay in infants and young children can have a devastating effect. A child’s baby or primary teeth are essential for chewing and speaking properly and for the successful eruption of adult or secondary teeth. Children who are taught good oral health hygiene early on are more likely to maintain healthy teeth throughout adulthood.

The NB Oral Health Curriculum is designed to address some of these issues. The New Brunswick Dental Society is pleased to introduce the revised oral health curriculum. This updated material incorporates current Department of Early Childhood Education curriculum outcomes in the lessons and materials. It has also been made available on-line and is fully accessible to all teachers in New Brunswick. The lessons are activity-based to teach students about the benefits of good oral health. Templates and examples can be printed for students’ use at home or in the classroom. Activities are designed to be used alone or in any combination that will meet the needs of your students and the time available. Materials are listed by recommended grade level (K-2 / 3-5) but may be used in any classroom setting.

You do not need to be a specialist in oral health to teach this curriculum. It has been developed by New Brunswick dentists and with the support of the New Brunswick Department of Early Childhood Education. We are grateful for their interest and support.

Additional reading lists are provided which include materials available through the NB Library system. On-line resources are provided for those who want to expand the curriculum and use other technological means to do so.

Materials include the “Happy Healthy Teeth” series developed by the Manitoba Dental Association in collaboration with the Manitoba government. These materials have been provided to New Brunswick free of charge.

If you wish to supplement the content with a visit from a Dentist, please contact the New Brunswick Dental Society or your local dental office.